Abandoned Prosperity

America, for all its supposed wealth and prosperity, has many abandoned places. From natural disasters, to foreclosures, to budget cuts, to rebuilding; I've seen quite a few in my short life-time. All across this vast country people are homeless, when there are many buildings and places that could be "repurposed" to house them. This blog is all about the places I've lived and explored, over the past 47 years. It also involves other things of interest to me, which will become apparent as I continue along. Most places and events I can only remember and right now, I'm active in exploring the current state I live in, Tennessee. Follow along in my foot-steps as I clambour over and sometimes into the abandoned debris of our society...from junkyards to cellars to my own mind.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Lotta's Health Care Reform

If I were "politically correct", I wouldn't have much to bitch about when it comes to the (U.S.) government and their policies, in general. Especially where health care is concerned. But then, health care is just another commodity, much like shopping at your local grocery store (as a matter of fact, a certain retail pharmacy giant offers "pre-paid" health care cards!) Of course, many of us (myself included) just simply can not afford the insane costs of a health care plan. So...we do without. Or in my case, go crawling to the nearest veteran's care clinic. I'm glad I have that option. As a "double-service veteran" ( I served in both the Navy and Army),  I can at least get checked over without having to take out a mortgage.

 The U.S. is the most expensive country when it comes to medical care, according to many reports. What did you expect of a system that is mainly profit-driven? Apparently, we are a nation of sickly people and need all those drugs to make us better. But...what if we weren't so sick? What if every-one in the country got on the "healthy life" band wagon? What if there were no longer a need for all those drugs and treatments? What if you didn't have to be told to purchase a health care plan or suffer a monetary penalty for not doing so? Ah, what if, indeed! Unfortunately, this isn't Utopia.

 When I found this story below I actually had to read it twice. Once, to just read it and twice to dissect it all. It was re-printed in an old issue of Richie Rich Comics, from the early 1970's. I'm not sure when the story itself came about; probably the late 1960's but, it illustrates more than one idea. And it's no-where near "politically correct". I'm not sure what the writers were thinking back then. I mean, would the average 8-year old have gotten the jokes? I highly doubt it but, let's analyze this story page-by-page, anyway.

The story starts out innocent enough. Always overweight "Little Lotta" is looking for more ways to do more exercise after one of her workouts so, she dozes off in a hammok for a dream-scape. In "Dream Land", she finds herself in the office of the Commander In Chief who appoints her head of the nation's health programme. She's actually made "Supreme Boss" and quickly gets to work. Yeah. Right. As if this could ever happen. But, this is just fantasy-comedy. With a lot of unseen draw-backs.

"AH! Supreme Boss! Has a nice ring to it!"

One of Lotta's biggest problems (other than her appetite) is the fact that, deep down inside, she's just a bully. Take the two poor dead-beats below. Are they doing anything to anyone? No. They're just sitting round having a natter. But to Lotta they're just a couple of lazy hippies (her expression here highly suggests she's racist, where lazy people are concerned). So, she forces them into getting into shape. Kind of like how Americans are being forced to pay for a health care plan via a Draconian law (in my honest opinion). Really now, where the hell in the U.S. Constitution, does it allow the government to force it's citizens what to purchase? As far as I know, it doesn't. Or maybe I've not read that part, as yet? But I'm getting ahead of myself, here. I'd also probably be the first one to either go tell Lotta where to get off or, bitch-slap the crap out of her. But the story just gets worse...

"God-damned Hippies!"

After dealing with the "riff-raff"in the park, Lotta calls a press conference to alert the nation what she's on about, in true dictator fashion. But really, I'd find it hard to accept that getting in shape was my first priority, when spoken from the mouth of one who, quite obviously, was way more over-weight than I'll ever be. One good point is brought to bear here and it still holds true to-day; we blindly follow the government's examples. Hey! If Congress can be over-weight and unhealthy then, it should be okay for the rest of us, yes? I mean, when's the last time you saw an under-weight politician? Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm sure there are enough of them out there that do conform to some sort of health and fitness regime but, not enough of them do.

The other thing that comes up here is the whole problem of smoking and cigarettes. But Lotta has a different idea on how to end that as well. Unfortunately, in to-day's world her act of blowing up the cigarette factory would be considered an act of terrorism, regardless. And there are a lot of factories making these "death sticks". Again, don't get me wrong, as I used to smoke myself but, I quit nearly 20 years ago. But, the folks in this story are forced to quit...or else.

"Fat boys, fat boys, whatcha gonna do when Lotta comes for you?"

But, therein lies a problem. You can't just shut down a corporation as big as the cigarette manufacturers, over-night. Think of all the jobs that'd be lost. Think real hard of all the more jobs that would be lost if everyone walked or ran to work. No need for vehicles. Sure, the air might get cleaner but if no-one was driving, no-one would be buying petrol, oil, parts, labour, etc. Literally millions of people would be out of work. With no-one working, no-one's earning anything. Sure, "healthy-as-a-horse" Grandpa can chase the young girls all over the beach but, where will he return to when the bank has foreclosed on his home? Or maybe he has a "reverse mortgage? Probably not. I mean, if there's no work, no jobs, how will we pay taxes? Or the mortgage or even rent? Unless Grandpa has a "reverse mortgage", perhaps? But then, if we're not paying any taxes then the multitude of government employees aren't getting paid, either. Nor are the cops, fire-fighters, doctors, EMT's, etc. And to tell you the truth, I would find it pretty difficult to live on a zero-dollar paycheck. Bet the writers didn't think to deeply on this as I do. 

A sexual innuendo in a kid's comic? Of course!

And then we have the ultimate collapse of the whole health care system as we know it; Medicare and Medicaid are broke because no-one is contributing to the resource pool, ditto Social Security. The bad thing is that many of to-day's citizens that have yet to retire, will probably not benefit from an aging and over-abused system when it comes time for them to do so. Then what? Unless you've got millions of dollars socked away somewhere, you'll be basically screwed. Why should we "contribute" to a health care plan (Medicare) and yet, be forced into buying another plan? If our nation, on the whole, wanted to improve it's outlook on life, wouldn't we have already done so? If we truly wanted to stay healthy, would we have a fast-food restaurant on every fucking corner of every town or city? 

We now live in an era where the government thinks it's a good idea to ban things that might be considered harmful to us. Like trans-fats and incandescent lighting. But the same government isn't doing enough to rid the U.S. of the real problems as seen in this story. Alas, I'm just a poor ex-combat veteran that now has to depend on the Veteran's Administration for health care. I never thought I'd need it. Bet the writers didn't see that, either

But all's well that ends well in the story...sort of. The ending pokes fun at itself as two obviously over-weight citizens approach the sleeping Lotta and voice their opinions of her. Sweet dreams, Lotta.